Canada PM Vows to Forge Closer Ties With Hong Kong

Canadian Prime Minister Chretien Visits Hong Kong
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien pledged Saturday to forge closer ties with Hong Kong, noting the territory could be a "springboard" for business success in mainland.

Speaking at a lunch hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Chretien said the links with Hong Kong would be further strengthened after China's expected entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) later this year.

He said Hong Kong had much to offer especially to small and medium sized businesses and with Beijing's accesion to the WTO, it could be a "spring board for Canadian business success in mainland China and the rest of Asia."

Chretien, leading a 500-strong "Team Canada" trade delegation, said one of the principal goals of his trip was to "re-brand Canada in the eyes of Hong Kong."

He echoed Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's remark that Hong Kong business people visiting Canada should do more than visit their aunts -- they should do business.

Chretien highlighted the presence of high technology centres in British Columbia and Vancouver on the Pacific seaboard and lower taxes than in the United States as reasons for Hong Kong businesses to serious contemplate establishing bases in Canada.

Speaking at the same meeting, Tung said Hong Kong could learn from Canada's envied living standards, in particular its clean environment, as well as its educational standards.

Team Canada has so far signed 3.5 billion dollars in deals during the current trip, which included stops in Beijing and Shanghai.

People's Daily Online ---